Vegas Odds: Conference Tourneys – SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on March 13th, 2013

Yesterday we ran through the current Vegas odds for four of the major conference tournaments getting under way early in the week. Today we’ll take a brief look at the remainder — the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, and SEC. The SEC tips off tonight with the rest lacing them up on Thursday afternoon. As usual, there are some disparities between overall public perception and the mathematics that Vegas assigns to these teams — we’ll note some of those differences below (all oddreported from 5dimes.com on Tuesday night).

sec tourney 13 odds

It’s no surprise that the Gators are a heavy favorite in Nashville this week, but #6 seed Missouri coming in with the next highest odds might be. The Tigers would have to win four games in four days, which is always difficult but not impossible. Vegas has little faith in #3 seed Ole Miss and #4 seed Alabama, as exhibited by their relatively low odds. The bottom line is that this tournament is Florida’s to lose, but after that it’s pretty wide open.

acc tourney 13 odds

#1 seed Miami (FL) may have won the regular season by a game in the ACC standings, but that doesn’t mean Vegas has to oblige with the notion that the Hurricanes are better than #2 seed Duke. The Blue Devils are a significant favorite over the rest of the field in Greensboro, and the odds realistically only give the top half of this league any kind of a chance. One team to watch is #5 seed NC State, who will have to win four games in four days — Vegas is still relatively high on the Wolfpack despite an incredibly inconsistent season.

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ACC M5: 03.11.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 11th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. ACC: The ACC Tournament (#ACCTourney) bracket is set.
    acc-tourney-bracket-2013

    The official 2013 ACC Tournament bracket (credit: The ACC).

    Some juicy match-ups to look forward to: Erick Green’s potential last hurrah against a beatable NC State team, Maryland’s potential rubber match with Duke in the quarterfinals, Miami’s likely game against desperate (but good) bubble teams in the semis. It’s looking like a very interesting tournament from all sides. No less than three teams are desperate for marquee wins, Miami still has a very outside shot at a top seed if it beats Duke in the finals, and Duke can gun for the top overall seed.

  2. Raleigh News & Observer: This may be the most thorough argument for putting Mason Plumlee ahead of  Shane Larkin for ACC Player of the Year. Laura Keeley uses tempo free statistics to justify voting for Plumlee over Larkin, but overemphasizes team performance when brushing off Erick Green. She has a point that Green plays for the worst team in the league, but without context (and probably a lot of game tape), it’s impossible to know if Green’s numbers are from teams daring him to beat them by shutting down his teammates or whether they’re in spite of opponents looking to shut him down. Without definitive evidence for teams shutting down his teammates and letting him go off, Green has to be this year’s ACC Player of the Year. His volume and efficiency numbers bring to mind JJ Redick.
  3. Bear Down Stats: Steven Jung did some interesting research into the last 10 national champions and found some interesting tidbits. Since 2003 no champion has had a defensive efficiency of over 90 points per 100 possessions. More surprisingly, no group has managed to win everything with a tempo below 65.4 possessions a game (slightly below average). On the whole, champions have elite offenses, elite defenses and play with some pace. Only Connecticut in 2011 and Syracuse in 2003 managed to win it all with an efficiency margin of under 30 points per 100 possessions (and both of those teams had elite guys to create shots down the stretch). What does this mean? It means Duke, Indiana and Gonzaga are the only three teams to fit the profile of the last 10 champions (Louisville fits as well if you ignore offense and just look at net efficiency margin).
  4. Duke Basketball Report: Al Featherston makes a good case for the ACC Tournament (which does crown the official ACC Champion) based on lopsided scheduling. If you look at Duke and Miami‘s records against common opponents (they played 12 of their 18 games against the same teams on the same floors), Duke actually holds an 11-1 record compared to Miami’s 10-2 mark. The difference between the schools was the games that didn’t fall against the same opponents: Duke lost both its road games (at Maryland and at Virginia, who went undefeated in conference home games), while Miami won both of its road games (at Clemson and at Georgia Tech). All this does is illustrate the problem with comparing small samples of records with unbalanced schedules.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: ACC historian Samuel Walker wrote a gloom-and-doom piece for the News & Observer Friday with some interesting historical nuggets that show the esteem for academics within the ACC. The ACC led the way with minimum academic standards, which actually kept Joe Namath and Pete Maravich from playing at Maryland and NC State, respectively. At the end of the day, Walker’s bone to pick is with conference realignment. He has a very good point that the long term financial gains are still an unknown.
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Ten Tuesday (Wednesday) Scribbles: On Underwhelming Teams, Soft Schedules, Wisconsin and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 6th, 2013

tuesdayscribblesBrian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. The Super Bowl marks the beginning of a two month stretch where college basketball dominates the national sports scene. From now until April 8, the focus will be squarely on our terrific sport. Sure it can be frustrating for the diehard fans that have been following every game since early November but the attention of the casual fans is what drives coverage and television ratings. The unfortunate reality is that without casual fan interest, college basketball would exclusively be a niche sport. We all have had that NCAA Tournament pool experience where the person who starts watching in February or March and knows very little other than team names and rankings wins the pool while the person who studies the efficiency metrics and knows that Travis Trice is a great three point shooter but awful inside the arc (h/t Luke Winn) finishes near the bottom of the pool standings. Nevertheless, it is an exciting time of year as bubble talk, last four in and last four out quickly creep into the daily sports conversation. Games like Tuesday night’s Ohio State/Michigan classic are what drive interest in the sport. We’ve been treated to plenty of great games this season but this one couldn’t have come at a better time, a time when most of America is now squarely focused on college basketball. Strap in, it’s going to be really fun as we head into the part of the season where every game is so big and teams make their final push towards March.
  2. As we move into this crucial part of the season, the issue of teams peaking early can become a concern for some. The season is a process, an evolution if you will, and not every team is playing its best basketball come March. As I look across the nation, there are a few teams that may have already peaked or are peaking right now and may not be able to sustain their current level of play into March. Oregon, NC State, Miami and Butler come to mind. Two losses to the Bay Area schools have put a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Is it a short term blip or a sign of things to come for the Ducks? Their ability to score and propensity for turnovers are causes for concern but Oregon’s defense is surprisingly solid. NC State’s issue is just the opposite. The Wolfpack certainly can score, although their offense was shut down in losses to Maryland and Virginia. However, defense has been a problem all year and NC State’s efficiency, ranked #141 in the country, is simply not at a level where you can win games consistently. Chances are the Wolfpack have already peaked and their inability to stop teams will catch up to them eventually. Miami is a case of a team that may be peaking as we speak. The Hurricanes have won 10 consecutive games in a variety of different ways. This fact (meaning they can play different styles/speeds) combined with a defensive efficiency ranked fourth in the country suggest Miami can sustain this level of play. Concerns for the Hurricanes include three point shooting, free throw shooting and offensive rebounding but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Miami hold steady, at least for the next few weeks. Butler is an interesting case. The Bulldogs are 18-4 (5-2) but have lost two of their four games since the emotional win over Gonzaga on January 19 while also struggling through a win over lowly Rhode Island. Butler’s league isn’t as tough as the other teams mentioned here so it will likely enter the NCAA Tournament with a very strong record. Of concern is the BU defense which is not at the elite level it was when the Bulldogs first went to the national title game three years ago. However, it would be foolish to doubt Brad Stevens and his group. With a soft schedule down the stretch, there is still time for Butler to pile up wins and gather confidence heading into the tournament. I would say Butler has not peaked yet despite some major wins already on its resume. Look out for the Bulldogs next month.

    C.J. Leslie and NC State may have peaked early (E. Hyman/RNO)

    C.J. Leslie and NC State may have peaked early (E. Hyman/RNO)

  3. As we head into February and the regular season begins to wind down, I figure this is a good time to look at a few of America’s underwhelming teams. There are teams out there with gaudy records but few quality wins or those who just haven’t gotten on track relative to preseason expectations. Notre Dame, UNLV, UCLA and Missouri come to mind immediately. Notre Dame is 18-5 and 6-4 in the Big East which appears good on the surface but this was a team many thought would finish third in that rugged conference. However, a closer inspection reveals the Irish have just two quality wins on their resume (Kentucky (maybe) and at Cincinnati). In Big East play, Notre Dame has lost twice on its home court, something that has been almost unheard of over the years in South Bend. Notre Dame has never been a defensive juggernaut under Mike Brey but this is arguably his worst defensive team in 13 years at the helm. UNLV is a team with lots of talent that always leaves you wanting more, always following up a stretch of good play with a disappointing loss. The Rebels struggle away from Vegas which is understandable but you would still like to see them beat a few good teams on the road. They have failed to do that. UNLV can still turn it around but I feel like we’ve seen this movie before. Three consecutive first round NCAA flameouts show that UNLV isn’t quite ready for primetime. In fact, the Rebels have not won a postseason game since a first round victory over Kent State in 2008. UCLA is still a work in progress but there is no denying it has been underwhelming. The Bruins have lost three of their last four games since winning 10 straight games after a disappointing 5-3 start. Defense has been a concern all season long but it’s the offense that has scuttled of late. Five of UCLA’s final seven games are on the road and one of the home games is against Arizona. Things could get a little dicey down the stretch for the Bruins. Missouri is the team I feel is the most overrated of all. Despite a resume that lacks one single freaking SEC road win and non-conference wins over fading Illinois and mediocre Stanford, the Tigers continue to be ranked in both major polls. Missouri is not a good defensive team and has given up a lot of points to pretty much every good team it has played. Phil Pressey can be a great distributor but he’s also a turnover machine and a poor jump shooter. Mizzou will probably make the NCAA Tournament but an early departure is highly likely. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC M5: 02.04.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 4th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Duke Basketball Report: This is a phenomenal article from Al Featherston, looking back at Duke winning number 1,000 nearly four decades ago. The article also includes two of the biggest ACC “What ifs?” ever:
    1. What if Lefty Driesell was given the Duke job?
    2. What if Adolph Rupp had taken over for Duke in the mid-1970′s?

    The first question is fascinating. Driesell built Maryland, but Duke already had a history of success (only five teams beat the Blue Devils to the 1,000 win mark). Could he have taken the Blue Devils to similar heights (and lows)? Just how different would Duke’s program be today if the (aptly described) “mercurial” Driesell ushered in the modern era instead of Coach K. Also, what would have happened to Mike Krzyzewski? Similar butterfly effects happen if Rupp takes over. The article also has historical anecdotes about the dominance of the Durham YMCA in the 1920′s. Seriously, give it a read.

  2. ESPN: Well, the inevitable has arrived. Despite not receiving bids from Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in New York City, “because of the league’s changing membership,” those two arenas will still be in the running for the 2016-2021 ACC Tournaments. The move makes sense, but it has the potential to be a major flop too. The atmosphere at the ACC Tournament the past few years hasn’t been the same. The declining excitement is largely thanks to an increase in noncompetitive teams, the addition of Thursday and an expanding geographic footprint. Moving the tournament to New York could exacerbate the issues if the league continues to aim for a balanced allotment of tickets.
  3. ACC Sports Journal: The ACC is slowly rebuilding. Almost all programs appear to be moving in the right direction, though there are still plenty of questions surrounding almost all of the new coaches: Can Jim Larranaga and Steve Donahue recruit at the ACC level consistently? Can Brian Gregory and Brad Brownell break through to the next level? And can Jeff Bzdelik and Donahue pull their teams out of the cellar? The next couple of seasons are critical to the success of the ACC going forward because coaching stability is a huge factor in sustained success.
  4. Raleigh News & Observer: NC State took a gut-punch against Miami without junior guard Lorenzo Brown. The Wolfpack controlled for most of the game, but a late Miami run and some costly errors from CJ Leslie (missed foul shots, turnovers, and dumb fouls) gave the Hurricanes the chance to win. But two stories more important than Reggie Johnson‘s buzzer-beating tip are starting to show through the game. For one, Miami is a solid two games ahead of Duke in the loss column (everyone else has three or more losses). That’s a very, very good place to be going into the second half of conference play. Second, Tyler Lewis finally started showing why he was a McDonald’s All-American. Lewis ran NC State’s offense very well against the best defense in the ACC, and he didn’t look nearly as lost on defense. He still needs some work, but developing Lewis is crucial in the long run.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech was a different team Sunday than the one that got smacked in Charlottesville (to be fair the home-road splits are looking fairly dramatic for Virginia too). The Yellow Jackets looked like they might be due for a repeat of their last game with the Cavaliers as they went into the half down by nine. Brian Gregory said after the loss that his team needed to learn how to finish. Well, the second time around they did just that. Georgia Tech held Virginia to six points in the final 9:40 of the game. The Yellow Jackets were the first ACC team to drop 60 on Virginia. Good luck ranking the middle and bottom of the ACC this season. It’s a train-wreck, though it’s a train-wreck played at a higher level than last year.
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Where 2012-13 Happens: Reason #15 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 25th, 2012

And away we go, headfirst into another season heralded by our 2012-13 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured here what we believe were the most compelling moments from last season, some of which will bring back the goosebumps and others of which will leave you shaking your head. Enjoy!

#15 – Where First Time Ever Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-092009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons.

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Greensboro Coliseum To Get $24 Million Facelift: ACC Tournament Benefits

Posted by mpatton on October 17th, 2012

The host of the ACC Tournament for the next three years is looking to modernize. The renovations, which will take three years to fully complete, should solidify the Coliseum’s place as the normal host for the ACC Tournament. This year, the renovations are minor but should be completed in time for the ACC Tournament in March. Specifically, Greensboro is adding cushioned seating and a new LED scoreboard. The larger renovations, which will be paid for with a hotel tax, will start following the 2013 ACC Tournament and finish sometime around 2015. These changes focus on updating the upper level concourse, which will be widened significantly, replacing the concessions with four larger food courts. There will also be changes to the parking lots and traffic flow surrounding the Coliseum.

The Coliseum is Getting Modernized!

The Greensboro Coliseum has hosted the ACC Tournament nearly 30 times since the late 1960s and will likely continue to host a plurality of tournaments in the future. The conference hasn’t announced ACC Tournament locations for the years of 2016-21, but venues have already put in bids. Look for the Greensboro Coliseum to host multiple years, but the Verizon Center (home of the Washington Wizards) and newly constructed Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets) may also get to host the tournament one time apiece.

These renovations will keep Greensboro as the premiere location for the tournament, staying head and shoulders above the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte — an arena which is also undergoing renovations.

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ACC M5: 10.12.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 12th, 2012

  1. Chicago Tribune: (author’s Note: with Notre Dame joining the conference, it’s time to start including some midwestern media outlets) According to Brian Hamilton, there was mutual interest between the ACC and Madison Square Garden in hosting the ACC Tournament, but the Garden never bid for it. Swofford noted that Madison Square Garden wanted an annual relationship with the league, but the ACC wishes to continue its current location model (normally in North Carolina, but moving around regularly). North Carolina makes the most sense from a fan perspective: It’s central location is closest to the most schools, making fans more likely to make the trip.
  2. BC Interruption: There’s cautious optimism out of Chestnut Hill! Whether or not its record shows it, Boston College improved dramatically from 2011 to 2012. Over the course of the season the Eagles went from a ragtag group of teenagers who were blown out by Holy Cross at home to a rough around the edges team that shocked the eventual ACC champion. Expect the Eagles to improve markedly again this season, as they get more experience. However, there’s still a talent ceiling for this group — especially after the trio of Ryan Anderson, Patrick Heckmann and Dennis Clifford. Don’t expect Boston College to find itself on the bubble, but the watchability of Steve Donahue’s team should improve.
  3. Fox Sports Carolinas: Roy Williams talked a little bit in this article about finding out about tumors on his kidneys. Both of Williams’ parents died of cancer, so the news hit the UNC head coach particularly hard. In addition to the great news that the tumors were benign, the best part of this story is the support for Williams from fans, his team and even from his opponents: “Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski called three times, and Wake Forest head man Jeff Bzdelik sent ice cream.” Williams spoke with the rest of the conference coaches as well. This story proves, once again, that some things are bigger than basketball.
  4. Orlando Sentinel: Florida State has eight newcomers joining the roster this season led by Devon Bookheart and three new seven-footers. There are around three people out of a million over seven feet tall, and Leonard Hamilton is bringing in three of them this year alone. While raw, the three — with the possible exception of Michael Ojo — should see decent playing time this season thanks to all of the spots that opened up after last season. Even when players aren’t seven feet tall, they should fit Hamilton’s system well thanks to their off -the-charts wingspan and athleticism.
  5. The TandD.com: In what’s rapidly becoming a theme, Brad Brownell and Clemson have 12 first or second-year players. Across the league teams are much younger than in most years, heavily relying on underclassmen to shoulder significant responsibility. From Brownell’s comments, he’s really concerned with energy on both ends of the floor. He wants to play quickly (but efficiently) on offense and defense, so the team is doing a lot of defensive drill work. One thing that still needs significant improvement is the team’s communication, which is the linchpin for a strong team defense.
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Madison Square Garden Passes Up ACC Tournament: Huge Mistake?

Posted by Chris Johnson on September 26th, 2012

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

Over the past three years, conference realignment has precipitated a shift of thriving programs away from the Big East into the ACC. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, three valuable pieces of the Big East’s hoops power hierarchy, saw weakness in the Big East’s deteriorating leadership and declining status in the BCS power structure. They sought greater stability and a more lucrative TV payout in their new conference. The Big East was fracturing, so it was not at all surprising that these programs wanted out. It is hard to fault their move. But like so many of the realignment-related movements of late, their league hop had detrimental consequences on the Big East’s basketball league. For years Syracuse and Pittsburgh have contended for conference titles, played fierce rivalry games and did their part to help make the Big East one of the nation’s most compelling hoops leagues. Notre Dame is, by all accounts, a football school, but had itself risen among the league’s hoops upper-tier under head coach Mike Brey. When these programs announced their departures, it wasn’t just a blow to the league’s membership, but to the Big East brand itself, the very essence of which rested upon such fierce hardwood drama. This was a familiar wave of movement; it wasn’t long ago that the ACC poached Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami, another football-motivated move that impacted its basketball competition at the expense of the Big East. These six defections over the last decade (Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pittsburgh), along with West Virginia’s jump to the Big 12, has conspired to reconstitute the Big East into an amorphous heap of disparate programs, a depleted league robbed of much of its hoops equity.

The Big East won’t serve up the same tantalizing display of hoops heavyweights in its conference tournament after the current contract with Madison Square Garden runs out in 2016 (Photo credit: Chris Chambers/Getty Images).

The realignment-powered decline of Big East basketball is nothing new. It is a topic I (along with many other college hoops scribes around the web) have visited before in this space. This latest bit of news counts as a rare positive step for the revamped league, and it was brought to light Tuesday by ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy. The ACC may have stolen the Big East’s basketball talent, but it can’t take its legendary conference tournament venue! Take that, conference realignment! Madison Square Garden, according to McMurphy, did not submit a bid for hosting rights to the 2016-21 ACC Tournaments. The newly-unveiled Barclays Center, home of the re-branded Brooklyn Nets, also passed up the soon-to-be hoops super-conference’s league tourney. The Big East’s current deal with MSG runs out in 2016, but an extension is in the works to keep the league’s tournament at the historic New York City arena through 2026, according to the New York Post.

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Morning Five: 09.26.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 26th, 2012

  1. Yesterday, the college basketball world received some excellent news when North Carolina announced that the biopsy from the surgical procedure on Roy Williams‘ right kidney came back as an oncocytoma, a relatively rare but benign tumor. Of course, there still is the issue of the unknown mass on his left kidney, which the surgical team now plans to biopsy next week. As many media outlets have reported (presumably regurgitating the UNC press release) there is a “good chance” that it will also be benign, but it is worth noting that the literature on the subject cites a 10% risk of the other kidney biopsy coming back as renal cell carcinoma, a type of malignant tumor. So while we were glad to hear the great news about Williams’ initial biopsy, we remain cautiously optimistic about next week’s procedure as well as concerned about the medical ailment that initiated the work-up that led to the discovery of his renal masses. Everyone around the college basketball community is assuredly crossing fingers for more good news out of the UNC camp next week.
  2. Despite recent news to the contrary, it’s an Apple world and the rest of us are merely technology enablers. The company well on its way to a market capitalization of a trillion dollars has invented and led the wave of iPhones, iPads, and other forms of mobile computing over the past decade. As organizations of all shapes and sizes have jumped on the user-friendly platforms to update their business models, improve outreach, and foster efficiencies, it was only a matter of time before they made their way into sports. Following the recent lead of several NFL and college football teams, Duke has now equipped all of its players with new iPads for the purposes of scheduling, statistic tracking, scouting reports and film work. Given that these are still college students who sometimes get distracted and lose things, each iPad will be equipped with tracking software that will allow those sensitive Duke game plans and evaluations of opponent tendencies to be remotely wiped clean.
  3. We don’t mean to make this an all-ACC M5 today, but it seems to be heading that way with yesterday’s news that neither the venerable old Madison Square Garden nor the spanking new Barclays Center apply to host a future ACC Tournament in the next eight years. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported that bids for the 2016-21 ACC Tournaments came and went with no bids from a New York City venue, raising the much bigger question as to why not? We’ll delve deeper into this topic later today, but a conference tournament with Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and a host of others wouldn’t make for a viable viewing experience in the Big Apple? Do the Barclays Center owners mean to tell us that the Atlantic 10 Tournament is a stronger draw than the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament? Something is very much off about these decisions, and we’re not sure what.
  4. It’s been enough time now since Jim Calhoun‘s retirement at Connecticut for folks to take a step back and carefully evaluate whether the way in which the legendary coach “handed” the program to assistant Kevin Ollie just a month before practice begins was the right move. It’s impossible to predict the future now any more than it was when Dean Smith pulled a similar maneuver in 1997 by leaving his bosses no choice but to hire top assistant Bill Guthridge (for all his recruiting troubles, Gut did get two teams to the Final Four in three seasons, including a 2000 squad that had no business being there). Mike DeCourcy writes that despite what Calhoun is saying about the program’s strength — all true things — Ollie is still “deficient” in coaching experience (two years as a UConn assistant) and, in the worst of all possible scenarios, could find himself in way over his head very quickly. It will certainly be an interesting season up in Storrs.
  5. It’s always preseason here in the blogosphere, and so it’s time for the myriad lists of top players, teams, coaches, and so on to begin leaking out in earnest. SBNation‘s Mike Rutherford has put together a list of the top 100 players in college basketball for the 2012-13 season, and some of his results might surprise you. Early NPOY candidate Cody Zeller is his top overall player, but a North Carolina forward who didn’t get a chance to show terribly much last year makes his top five. From a team perspective, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri and Florida ended up with four players each on his list, with the Cards grabbing a quartet of the top 46 chosen (full disclosure: Rutherford is a Louisville guy). He writes up the top 50 and even if you don’t agree with some of his selections, just perusing through the list will no doubt get your juices flowing. Enjoy.
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ACC Tournament: Three Thoughts On NC State – North Carolina

Posted by mpatton on March 11th, 2012

A lot of controversy surrounded North Carolina‘s 69-67 win over NC State and the officiating. I already wrote my comments on the officiating. This article is about the game.

  • NC State was moving the wrong direction when CJ Leslie fouled out. All of the controversy surrounding the calls that lead to Leslie’s fifth foul overshadowed the events surrounding the game. North Carolina was on a 7-0 run, and NC State’s body language was really bad. Leslie, who up to that point had carried the Wolfpack, looked worse than anyone else. Even the coaching staff was in disarray: Mark Gottfried admitted after the game that he didn’t know it was Leslie’s fifth. But when he fouled out, it fired up NC State–namely Lorenzo Brown–and it finally pushed back to having a chance to win it in the last minute. Two turnovers–the second of which thwarted a wide open game-tying layup by DeShawn Painter–are what directly cost the Wolfpack the game. And give credit to Justin Watts for hustling and getting his hands on that pass when it looked like Painter was all alone.

    Lorenzo Brown Took Over After CJ Leslie Fouled Out.

  • Kendall Marshall played another very good, multi-faceted offensive game. Don’t look now but he’s scored in double figures in each of his last three games shooting 53% from the floor (and 6-11 from beyond the arc). He’s continued his record-setting assist campaign, dishing 10, 12 and 10 dimes in the games. If that continues, North Carolina is really tough to guard.
  • Tyler Zeller had another outstanding game, but he wasn’t able to take it to the next level until NC State bigs got in foul trouble. Obviously, that’s a little bit of a circular argument because guarding him is what got them in foul trouble to begin with. But it will be interesting to see how he performs against Florida State‘s physical front line with limited time from Henson (in the first game Zeller went for 14 points and 14 boards; Henson went 10 points and only 3 boards).
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A Rational Discussion of ACC Officiating

Posted by mpatton on March 11th, 2012

I waited a few hours to write this article because I wanted a chance to digest the game and get past the officiating. Instead it became about the officiating in NC State‘s loss to North Carolina, which I think was bad throughout but also very one-sided. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy in the ACC. I also can guarantee I couldn’t do a better job than the guys on the floor. But I do think that referees, no matter how hard they try not to, come to games with biases that affect 50/50 calls. Officiating requires making a split-second decision. That’s why selling contact is so successful. There’s no slow-mo or replays, and officials can’t even wait to see which way you fall (when they do, everyone including myself rips them for making late calls). Blocks and charges are the most difficult of these calls. Anytime someone falls down there are three choices: block, charge or no-call. But someone could hit the deck at any time. It’s not like players raise their hands and say, “Sir, I’m going to get a little out of control here but not lower my shoulder. Keep an eye on my defender’s feet for me.”

Gottfried Wouldn't Discuss Officiating Afterward

The biases come into play when it’s truly a 50/50 call, but you have to make the call. No matter what, officials are going to know that North Carolina is a good team and Tyler Zeller is a good player. Even if you brought in a top-notch official who’d never heard of Zeller, it wouldn’t take very long for him or her to figure it out. Knowing this, when a 50/50 play happens with Zeller, an official is more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt. In an ideal world, would they see everything and make the right call regardless of the context (player, team, time, etc.)? Yes.

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ACC Tournament: Semifinals Preview

Posted by mpatton on March 10th, 2012

This is the juciest semifinals the ACC Tournament had to offer: rematch of NC StateNorth Carolina (where it’s likely John Henson will be limited at best) that will seal NC State’s NCAA bid, pride and return to relevance with a win and the DukeFlorida State rubber match (where Ryan Kelly is hurt) featuring the Seminoles playing better basketball.

NC State Gets One More Shot At Its Rival.

I give both underdogs very good odds at winning. NC State could go either way: the team was amped after beating Virginia so this could be a bit of an emotional letdown game, but in a rivalry game I expect the Wolfpack to be in top form. CJ Leslie is playing as well as anyone right now and the Wolfpack have the athleticism to run with the Tar Heels (especially when some of the alternative lineups are on the floor). I expect Kendall Marshall and Henson to get plenty of rest so that’s a lot of those alternative minutes.

Florida State should have a little bit of an edge against Duke sans Kelly. The one thing that will keep Duke in it is Florida State’s recent inability to close games. If the Plumlees get into foul trouble like they did in Tallahassee, we’ll be seeing a whole lot of Josh Hairston. And while the Seminoles have struggled against teams playing small ball, Hairston isn’t exactly a stretch-four like Kelly.

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